Three things all moms hate (except me)

I don’t know if I was born with some missing chromosomes or what, but there are a few “mom issues” that I don’t seem to get.

1.  I don’t mind when the little old lady in the Target checkout line tells me to “enjoy every moment.”  I don’t – enjoy every moment, that is – but I understand her sentiment.  The days are long but the years short.  I get it.  It’s true (even if your timing sucks).  And it doesn’t infuriate me.

She's just telling it like it is, right Granny Clampett?

2. If when I tell a story about how hard X is for me, or what a crappy day I’ve had and you respond with a story about the ways your experience is worse – it actually makes me feel better.  It means that you can relate to the way I am feeling and it gives me a little perspective to see the brighter side of my own situation.

This definitely looks rougher than my day

3.  When someone says something as stupid as this, I enjoy the validation that a mom’s job is the hardest job.   Sure there is a twinge of condescension, maybe, when these words come from Obama or Oprah – as if the subtext is a pat on the head and a “good for you, little mommy that could, you keep on trucking through your tough day while I get back to running the free world/company that’s bigger and more efficient than the free world.”

Being a mom is the toughest job – whether you do it for 2 hours a day or 20 hours a day – for one reason.  It’s the only thing in life that requires you to be completely selfless.  All. The.Time.  The more hours you do it, the more your patience, empathy, sanity and strength are tested.  Your own basic needs are secondary.  Any other job doesn’t have co-workers who steal your food right out of your mouth or bust open the bathroom door to chat, right?

Is it the “hardest” job in the world?  I don’t know.  All I can do is share my experience.  I was a stay at home mom for two years and then I went back to work for a year.  I can tell you that being home is FAR harder than even my most demanding day as a lawyer.  It’s not even close as far as personal challenges go.  The stakes are higher at home than anywhere else.

And since being a mom is also a thankless job, I take those nuggets of validation, even with a small side of haughty disdain, and pat myself on the back.

Because raising a boy who takes time to grimace at the flowers is a challenge

So maybe it’s just me…

22 thoughts on “Three things all moms hate (except me)

  1. Interesting. This is making me think. Being a mom has put me in touch with more rage and also more love than I ever thought possible. I hate having to be selfless almost as much as I hate having to be patient. Neither is my MO. The part that ekes mothering ahead of lawyering for me is 1) I can wear tennis shoes all day on the job, 2) my kids aren’t nearly as sexist as the legal world, and 3) there is always love in my house. Even in those awful stretches of afternoon-night when I am in agony and so are my kids. Even when I need some effing privacy more than oxygen. I still have a muscle memory of love working through the dysfunction.

    Now if we are talking what job is the hardest to do well, then I have to say for me that mothering well is infinitely harder than lawyering well. Hell, I don’t even know how to mother well or if I am! At least in law I got had courts to give me a reality check.

    I can’t say if you’re normal and you probably shouldn’t look to me on that anyway, but I like how you have articulated this issue.

    • That is the nicest thing anyone can say (“this is making me think”)!! Your post made me think as well. And your comment here too. You are right about all 3 of your mom/lawyer points above. It’s true, not having regular constructive feedback is another way this mothering gig is harder. You have to be more sure of yourself without independent verification of the job well done. There are no bonuses, no raises, no year end reviews. But wouldn’t that be a great post! Oh yeah, I’m writing that one.

  2. Wait, I had another brilliant insight. This is all about me, but your post reminded me that I have a tendency to discount what I do or contribute. So of course I have the lens that if I can do mothering, how hard can it be? What a bad old habit of not valuing myself fully. Gotta work on that.

  3. I love your blog Carinn! I appreciate the words about how hard a moms job is. When are you writing a book because you are an amazing writer!!!

  4. I am thankful I didn’t read either of these posts before writing mine. They are both very well written and thought provoking but probably would have taken me in completely different directions. Definitely worth the read (and while you’re there check out my comments too!)

  5. ha. you spoke straight from MY soul today! been thinking all day how women are able to run 2+kids, work full-time, have food in the house, manage to wash their hair and floss daily and walk around with a smile on their face. i bow to them. i am at home and i can sometimes not get half of these things done. uff. well. rough day today. not my most glamorous SAHM moment ; )

  6. i cosign, with all of it. I remember laughing at a stay-at-home mom years ago who referred to herself as a Domestic Engineer. Now, I totally get it. I think my days at the office are simpler, even though I’d prefer being at my “other” (tougher) job!

  7. I can so relate to this one and really like the way you wrote it. it is the hardest job I think but also one of the best, most important and one with the most lasting impact in the world.
    I also went back to work part time after being home for a year and was shocked at how much easier and more relaxing it was, being back in an office, even if the work there wasn’t easy. Being a stay at home mom ain’t for sissies – LOL!
    I’ll check out those other posts you provided links to. Just wanted to leave some comment love for you!

    • That’s right Anna. Which is why I think some moms have a hard time expressing for themselves how difficult being a stay at home mom is – they think it negates the fact that they also find it to be amazingly rewarding, important and influential. It doesn’t! Those things can, and DO, exist at the same time. Another reason I am happy when the Oprahs and Obamas of the world say it. They have the platform and the voice that we often don’t.

  8. Ok, I finally got a chance to read the other 2 posts you put up the links to – the posts by women who were talking about how everyone should stop talking about women’s issues and how hard it is to be a stay at home mom! What?!?!?

    After politicians trying to squash rights for women on birth control, etc. I’m very much ok with anyone acknowledging women and mothers work hard. Maybe that will help keep in mind that we should also be able have rights and make decisions about our own bodies. I also think society doesn’t value being a stay at home mom and raising children so again, I’m ok with Obama or whoever else wants to, singing the praises of it. Any nod to women is a good thing.

    Sorry for such a long comment. Again, love your post!

    • Right? I get what she is saying in essence (and I think I even referenced it in my post – the twinge of pandering) but we need to fake it until we make it! It’s true – such little respect for being a SAHM. HA! – it’s no wonder that sentiment (wrongly) bleeds into our educational systems. SAHMs are our children’s first teachers!!!

  9. This picture is priceless!! I tell my girlfriends who stay at home every time I see them how much I admire what they do. They are brave, and patient, and smart, and efficient in ways people I have met and will meet in the professional world just aren’t required to be. Oprah may have said it b/c she got more views that way, and Obama more votes, but any mom who’s lived through maternity leave (and only had to call for help a few times) says it with nothing but pure, pure, admiration.

  10. I didn’t know that you were a lawyer too! I have to say that for me, being home(*) is not harder than being a lawyer. But that might be because my toddlers are more mature than the a*shats for whom I had the misfortune to work. And those toddlers? NOT PARTICULARLY MATURE.

    (*)I still lawyer, but do it from home, on an extremely part-time basis, primarily writing briefs for other people. Taking the “dealing with other lawyers” stuff out of the job has made it much more tolerable.

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  12. I am afraid i might be normal by your definition, and that concerns me. Deeply.
    Seriously, though I am with you on the second point but not so much one and two… Those old ladies who claimed to enjoy every single moment clearly exhibit signs of dementia. I do not enjoy meltdowns, power struggles regarding the nap, hunger strikes, or the fact that we can’t spend more than fifty minutes in a restaurant without causing an incident.
    And while the mommy job is exhausting and endless, there is nothing intellectually difficult about it.

  13. Um, I love this! Especially number 3. It’s really hard to be selfless all the time! Especially when we know it would be better for the kiddies for us to take care of ourselves and get it together. But there is no off switch to being a mom (or hormones!).

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